As we have previously reported here, the original timetable for implementing the EU Data Protection Regulation (the Regulation) had looked almost certain to slip. This has now been formally recognised by the European Commission (the Commission). Following a stakeholder meeting convened by the Greek Presidency on 22 January 2014, it was announced by a spokesman for EU Justice Commissioner Vice-President Viviane Reding (the commissioner primarily responsible for the Regulation) that a new ‘roadmap’ was being put in place for adoption of the Regulation. This meant that the deadline for commencement of the necessary ‘trialogue’ between the Commission, the European Council (the Council) and the European Parliament (the Parliament), for agreeing on a final text of the Regulation – which the Parliament could then vote on – that had been hoped to start by March (ahead of the European Parliamentary elections in May) was now planned to commence in July.

Vice-President Reding and those stake holders supportive of the Regulation are to be congratulated for trying to keep the initiative by settling a new timetable, but this is little more than a formal announcement of what commentators (including Edwards Wildman) have been saying since December, that there was little chance of the Council being ready to commence the trialogue before the Parliamentary elections in May. Moreover, other than being a statement of political intent, setting a new deadline doesn’t achieve a great deal. The Council will still have to satisfy itself on a draft text of the Regulation before it is ready to come to the table and there are still issues for it to discuss, notably the one stop shop mechanism, disagreement over which has been largely responsible for the recent delays (as we previously reported here). As background to this, a new EU Parliament may itself want to re-examine what its predecessor considered agreed, throwing the whole draft of the Regulation up in the air!